This one’s for you, Elaine

LIHUE — When Elaine Morita was in a hospital room for her cancer treatment in Washington state, she had a radio tuned to follow the Kapaa High School football game.

“Elaine has followed Warrior football from the days they were known as the Clippers,” football announcer Fig Mitchell said Saturday at Vidinha Stadium, before the Warriors won their preseason opener against Maui. “She is a dedicated Kapaa supporter. She has been to many, many Kapaa games, and always supports the Warriors.”

Morita is battling cancer, so Kapaa High School decided to make her an honorary captain, said Josie Pablo, recreation director at Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital, where Morita worked until her cancer diagnosis pushed her into retirement.

“If she knew, she wouldn’t have come” to Saturday’s game, Pablo said. “She’s not that kind of person.”

An emotional Morita didn’t speak, but her tears flowed.

Freddy Levinthol of the Kapaa coaching staff said his responsibility Saturday was to take care of Elaine.

“He spilled the beans,” said Elaine’s daughter Cheryl Morita, who is also a Kapaa High teacher. “He called her up. But she wasn’t going to come to the game because she wasn’t doing so well Friday night. We spent the night at the emergency room.”

Morita was helped to the field by Levinthol, Kapaa High School athletic director Greg Gonsalves and assistant athletic director Calvin Paleka for the coin toss and preliminary field instructions by the officials.

Her journey was interrupted when Pablo unleashed a flurry of Elaine supporters armed with lei, hugs and kisses.

“She might not make it through the entire game because of the rain,” Pablo said. “But she said she’s coming to the Mahelona Hospital bon dance.”

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